DIY: How to Make Truck Bed Slide Out Rails

  • Ella Jubaedah
  • Apr 20, 2023
DIY: How to Make Truck Bed Slide Out Rails

Materials needed for DIY truck bed slide out rails

If you are a truck owner, you probably know how much hassle loading and unloading heavy items in and out of the truck bed can be. This is where having a bed slide out rail comes in handy. Instead of struggling to lift and move items, you can simply slide them in and out of the truck bed with ease. While there are pre-made bed slide out rails available in the market, building one yourself can not only save you money but also give you a sense of accomplishment. To build your own DIY truck bed slide out rails, you will need the following materials:

1. Steel angle iron

This is the main material for your slide out rail. The steel angle iron comes in a variety of sizes, and you can choose the size that best suits your needs. We recommend selecting an angle that is at least 1/8 inch thick to support heavy weight. The angle iron will provide the strength and stability needed to support the weight of your cargo. Depending on the length you need, you may need to purchase multiple pieces of steel angle iron. You can purchase these at your local hardware or metal supply store.

2. Bearings

Bearings are the components that enable the slide out rail to move smoothly and without friction. You will need to purchase at least two sets of bearings for each side of the slide out rail. The number of bearings required will depend on the length of the slide out rail and the weight of the load it will carry. You can purchase bearings at your local hardware store or online.

3. Nuts, bolts, and washers

These are the fasteners that will be used to attach the steel angle iron and bearings together. They will also be used to secure the slide out rail to the truck bed. You will need to use high-quality bolts that are strong enough to support the weight of the cargo. You can purchase these at any hardware store.

4. Metal cutting tools

You will need metal cutting tools to cut the steel angle iron to size. The best tool for this purpose is a chop saw which you can purchase at a hardware store. However, if you do not have this tool, you can also use an angle grinder equipped with a cutting wheel.

5. Welding machine (optional)

While not necessary, a welding machine can make the process easier and faster. You will need a welder to attach the angle iron and bearings together. Welding creates a more secure and stable connection than using bolts. If you do not have a welding machine or do not know how to weld, you can use bolts instead.

6. Protective gear

When working with metal, it is essential to protect yourself from injury. Wear protective gear such as eye goggles, gloves, and a dust mask to protect yourself from metal shavings, debris, and toxic fumes.

With these materials, you can build your own sturdy and reliable slide-out truck bed rail that will make loading and unloading your cargo a breeze. Happy building!

Planning and measuring your truck bed

If you need a sliding bed for your truck, building your own DIY slide-out rails can be a fun and fulfilling project. It can save you a lot of money and time, especially if you own a not so common make and model of truck. But before you start, careful planning and measuring are required to ensure that the slide-out rails will fit perfectly in the truck bed.

First, determine the length, width, and depth of your truck bed. Take note of any protrusions or obstructions that might affect the installation of the slide-out rails. Make sure to measure the width of the truck bed at the top of the bed and near the wheel wells, as these areas can be slightly narrower.

If you want to maximize the cargo space in your truck bed, consider building the slide-out rails to extend over the tailgate. Measure the length of the tailgate, and allow for any gaps between the tailgate and the bed.

Once you have determined the measurements of your truck bed, it’s time to plan the design of the slide-out rails. Consider how much weight you need to support and how much extension you require. The design should be sturdy enough to carry the load, yet easily slide in and out of the truck bed.

Consider using materials like steel or aluminum for the frame and plywood for the bed box. You should also take into account the type of rollers or bearings to use for smooth sliding. Some DIYers use wooden dowels as cheaper alternatives.

When cutting and drilling, take note of the measurements to avoid errors. Double-check your work during the entire building process to prevent any mistakes that could lead to wasted time and resources. Use a level and square tool to ensure that your frame is level and your corners are squared.

Before building, it is also important to check your local regulations regarding cargo carrying capacity. Make sure you do not exceed any weight restrictions and be aware of any height restrictions that might be imposed by your local laws.

Lastly, it is always safer to test the slide-out rails before loading them with heavy items. Make sure they slide easily and lock securely in place. Examine all the connections and fasteners and ensure that they are securely attached.

Planning and measuring are crucial steps when building DIY truck bed slide-out rails. It is best to take your time and double-check your measurements and materials to ensure a successful project. With careful planning and execution, you can create your own sturdy and functional slide-out rails for your truck bed.

Building the frame for your slide out rails

One of the most important components of building a DIY truck bed slide out is constructing a sturdy frame for your slide out rails. Your frame will provide the structural support necessary for your slide out to operate smoothly and safely. In this article, we’ll provide some tips and tricks for building a reliable frame for your truck bed slide out rails.

The first step is to measure the width and length of your truck bed. This will give you a rough idea of the dimensions of your slide out rails. Additionally, you’ll need to decide on a weight capacity for your slide out. This will dictate the type and amount of materials you’ll need for your frame. For example, if you plan on hauling heavy equipment or building materials, you’ll need a frame that’s constructed from sturdy, heavy-duty materials.

Next, you’ll need to decide on a design for your frame. You can choose to build a simple rectangular frame that rests on your truck bed, or you can construct a more elaborate frame that attaches to your bed’s existing tie-down points. Whatever design you choose, be sure to take into account the weight distribution of your load, as well as any potential stresses on the frame from sudden stops or turns.

Once you’ve settled on a design, you’ll need to choose your materials. Most DIY truck bed slide outs are constructed from steel or aluminum tubing, although some people opt for wood or composite materials. If you’re planning on hauling heavy loads, you’ll want to use thick, heavy-duty material for your frame.

When building your frame, it’s important to pay careful attention to the welds. A sturdy, well-welded frame will provide years of reliable use, while a poorly-welded frame may fail under the weight of heavy loads. If you’re not an experienced welder or don’t have access to welding equipment, consider hiring a professional to assist you with this stage of the build.

Another important consideration when building your frame is adding support braces. These are smaller pieces of material that connect different sections of your frame and help distribute weight evenly. Depending on the weight capacity of your slide out, you may need to add multiple support braces along the length of your frame.

Finally, be sure to test your frame before attaching your slide out rails. One way to do this is to load your truck bed with your heaviest potential load and observe how the frame handles the weight. If you notice any sagging or bending, you may need to add additional supports or strengthen your welds. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when building a DIY truck bed slide out, as a weak or unstable frame can result in damage to your vehicle or injury to you or your passengers.

By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to building a sturdy and reliable frame for your DIY truck bed slide out rails. Remember to take your time, choose quality materials, and test your frame thoroughly before installing your slide out, and you’ll enjoy many years of safe and efficient hauling with your custom-made slide out.

Installing the Slides and Hardware

Now that you have designed and fabricated the truck bed slide out rails, the next step is installing the slides and hardware. It is important to properly install the slides and hardware to ensure that the slide out rails are secure and function properly. Here are some steps to follow:

Step 1: Measure the Slides and Determine Placement

The first step is to measure the length and width of the slides and then determine their placement on the bed of the truck. Make sure you choose a location that provides enough clearance and allows for easy access to the cargo in the truck bed. Once the placement has been determined, mark the location with chalk or tape.

Step 2: Install the Mounting Brackets

Next, install the mounting brackets onto the bottom of the slides. Make sure to align the brackets evenly and securely onto the slides. Then, position the slides onto the marked location on the bed of the truck. Use a level to ensure that the slides are perfectly level before marking the location of the mounting holes on the bed of the truck.

Step 3: Drill the Mounting Holes

After marking the location of the mounting holes, use a drill to create these holes in the bed of the truck. It is important to use the correct size drill bit for the mounting screws to avoid any stripping or damage to the thread. Once the holes are drilled, insert the mounting screws through the holes in the slides and into the holes in the bed of the truck. Tighten the screws firmly but don’t overtighten them as it may cause damage to the truck bed or the slides.

Step 4: Install the Rollers and Locking Mechanism

The next step is to install the rollers and the locking mechanism onto the top of the slide out rails. First, attach the roller brackets onto the top of the slide out rails. Then, install the rollers onto the brackets and secure them with screws. Make sure the rollers move smoothly and easily across the slides before attaching the locking mechanism. Finally, attach the locking mechanism onto the side of the slide out rails to secure the cargo in place when the slide out rails are in use.

Step 5: Test the Slide Out Rails

Once the installation is complete, test the slide out rails to ensure they are functioning properly. Check for any binding or issues with the movement of the rollers or locking mechanism. Make any necessary adjustments if found. Once the slide out rails are working properly, you can load up your truck bed with confidence knowing your cargo is secure and easily accessible.

Remember, safety should always be a top priority when working on any DIY project. Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice if you are unsure about any aspect of your project. With some time and effort, you can enjoy the convenience of a truck bed slide out rails without breaking the bank.

Tips for maintaining and using your truck bed slide out rails

If you own a truck, then you know how useful it is to have a slide-out bed in the back. It makes it easier to access things you’ve stored in your truck bed, whether that be tools, equipment or luggage. But like any other piece of equipment, your truck bed slide out rails will need some TLC from time to time to keep them in good condition. Here are some tips to make the most of your truck bed slide out rails:

1. Clean them regularly

Your truck bed slide out rails are bound to get dirty over time much like the rest of your truck. To keep them functioning smoothly, be sure to clean them with soap and water regularly. This will prevent dirt and grime buildup from impeding their ability to move in and out of your truck bed. Don’t forget to also clean the rollers and bearings that allow the rails to glide in and out.

2. Use lubrication

Lubricating your slide-out bed rails is a quick and easy way to keep them moving smoothly. Just apply lubricant to the moving parts of your rails, chains, and rollers to reduce friction to ensure longevity of your rails.

3. Check the bolts and nuts

It’s important to make sure that the bolts and nuts that hold your slide-out bed rails in place are tight and secure. You don’t want to have loose bolts because this can cause the rails to become unstable when you are using them. Check these periodically, and tighten them as needed.

4. Don’t overload your rails

One of the biggest dangers to your slide-out bed rails is overloading them with too much weight. Each rail has its own maximum load capacity that you should adhere to. Check your truck manual for the maximum weight capacity of your slide-out bed rails. Exceeding this limit can damage your rails, which can be costly to repair!

5. Avoid using your rails as a makeshift ladder

Finally, you should never use your slide-out bed rails as a ladder to climb to the top of your truck. Not only is this unsafe, but the rails are not designed to hold the weight of a person. Instead, use a proper ladder that can support your weight, or simply use your truck bed to store items that are easy to reach without standing on the rails.

If you follow these tips, you will enjoy using your truck bed slide out rails for years to come. They are a convenient and practical tool that can make life easier when you’re on the go, however, it’s important to take good care of them and use them correctly to protect your investment.

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